Old enough manure to add directly to a new garden plot?

rouge21_gw(5)April 8, 2012

A relative of mine has horses and so horse manure aplenty.

He says that the very large pile I filled my buckets from today has been there since about November 2011 (outside the barn subject to the elements). It is very crumbly and without odour. Does this seem mature enough manure to add directly to a just created (and not yet planted) perennial garden bed?

Tomorrow I take delivery of one cubic yard of garden soil. This is described by the shipper as "a custom blend of mineral soil, manure, peat, and compost". It is this soil that will form the bulk of the new garden bed. But now with this newly sourced horse manure I was thinking of adding it to the above described "garden soil" as well as a 30 kg bag of "volcanic rock dust". What do you think guys and gals...does this sound like a good plan?

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gardengal48

5 months is cutting it kinda short for using animal manure on an edible garden - some sources will quote a 6 month minimum but the organic standards boards recommend 12 months for 'aged' (not composted) manures. For a perennial or non-edible garden, I think you are fine. It is more a matter of how strong or hot the manure is and if you can detect no odor, you should be good to go.

Personally, I'd likely limit my ingredients to just the manure but what you add as amendments should be predicated on what the soil actually needs. Did you have a test done?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 5:52PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Thanks for the reply gardengal. Just to clarify it won't be an edible garden but rather a perennial flower garden. It was created by me removing the sod (existing lawn). I was under the impression that the inclusion of 'rock dust' is (almost) always a good amendment to residential soil.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 5:59PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Because of the potential for disease pathogens in any animal manure the USDA recommendation for manures on edible crops is to not apply any sooner then 90 days for those foods grown above ground and 120 days for root crops. Where non edibles are being grown there are no restrictions.
The term "Garden Soil" means about as much as "topsoil", nothing unless you look at what you are buying and understand what the seller is talking about. What is the ratio of Sand, Silt, Clay, the mineral portion of soil and how much organic matter does this soil contain?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 7:07AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I got a bit off topic in that I want to be sure that 5 month old horse manure is aged enough so that it will be beneficial to new plants from the beginning i.e. it won't 'burn' the roots if combined and mixed with soil as I have described.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:23AM
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toxcrusadr

I would think you'll be fine with that manure, especially if you are blending it into a larger amount of soil. The lack of odor and the age suggests it is composted enough not to burn plants.

Have fun in the garden!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:19AM
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tn_gardening

I would agree with toxcrusadr. Go for it!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:32AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Thanks for the votes of confidence. It has been done.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 12:41PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

kimmsr wrote:

Because of the potential for disease pathogens in any animal manure the USDA recommendation for manures on edible crops is to not apply any sooner then 90 days for those foods grown above ground and 120 days for root crops.

Do you mind providing a web reference for this? I ask as my father insists on tilling relatively new manure into the earth for his veggie garden. I want to show him that this isn't safe practice.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 1:16PM
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Lloyd

rouge...the NOP standards are in the fourth entry in this thread.

Note that the NOP standards are very slightly different from what was mentioned earlier by kimmsr

Lloyd

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to actual NOP standards

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

"(ii) Incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles; or"
for root crops which is, I think what I wrote.

"(iii) Incorporated into the soil not less than 90 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles;"
For above ground crops, which is, I think, what I wrote.

The news is filled, almost weekly, with stories of people being poisoned, in the USA, by E-Coli, Salmonaela, Listeria, etc. from animal manure contaminated foods. The Center for Disease Control believes this is much more common because most cases of this food poisoing do not get reported becasue too many people think they have the 24 or 48 hour "flu", actually gastroenteritis and not influenza.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:35AM
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Lloyd

Kimmsr, where you go wrong is with the "root" part. There are plants whose edible portion can come into contact with the soil that are not necessarily root crops. The descriptors "root crops" and "above ground crops" are not at all what the NOP uses. Furthermore, your "non edibles" should read "not intended for human consumption".

Lloyd

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:37AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

The news is filled, almost weekly, with stories of people being poisoned, in the USA, by E-Coli, Salmonaela, Listeria, etc. from animal manure contaminated foods.

I want to understand this better. Specifically can not 'manure contaminated food' be made safe for eating by doing thorough washing and or cooking? That is such contamination isnt internal...is it?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 5:04PM
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toxcrusadr

rouge, I am reminded of the big problem with the melons from that one Colorado farm last fall, was it not listeria? If I remember correctly they could not be decontaminated, it was actually impossible to clean them.

Regarding the case at hand, the OP said the manure had been in a pile since Nov. 2011. So the 120 days is already past, and they haven't even planting anything yet. The way I understand the guidelines is min. 90 or 120 days *prior to harvest8. Any way you slice it, that manure should be OK for any kind of gardens or crop if added now, with a good margin of safety. Am I right?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Lloyd

Plus the OP said it was for a perennial flower garden so the 'time before harvest' is irrelevant in their case.

The thread swerve came as a result of rouge21 asking kimmsr about a link to the 90 and 120 guideline.

NOP also has standards for meeting the definition for compost and letting the manure sit in a pile probably would not meet those standards so it would likely fall back to the 90/120 guide for raw manures.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:23PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I am the OP and you have reassured me that my use of 5 month old horse manure in a new perennial garden bed will enhance the soil. But it is my father who is preparing a new veggie bed using much newer manure which he will till into the soil.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:29PM
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